Our November book of the month, Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World, One Nonprofit at a Time, tells the inspiring stories of 50 social entrepreneurs who champion a variety of worthy causes. In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked seven of them what they’re thankful for this year.
Charles Best, Founder and CEO, DonorsChoose.org (pictured at right)
“When Hurricane Sandy hit the tri-state area, thousands were left asking, ‘What can I do to help?’ I’m thankful we are in a position to help. We’re collecting requests from public school teachers for the items their students need most: food and clothing for their students, and materials that were lost due to flooding. And, we’re asking individuals like you to fund those requests. To help a school rebuild, visit www.donorschoose.org/sandy.”
Enid Borden, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Foundation to End Senior Hunger
“I work in a field that is at once depressing, yet enlightening. My world is surrounded by hunger, poverty, malnutrition and loneliness. I work on behalf of seniors who oftentimes only eat if and when the local meal programs or food banks are fortunate enough to have the sufficient funds and food to provide seniors their next meal. And yet, I am thankful that I get to meet people who teach me what the real meaning of courage is. I have sat with seniors who have shared their stories of life and loves and even the recollections of the deaths of their children. They have enriched my life and encouraged me to continue to work on their behalf to find the solutions to the vexing issue of senior hunger. I am thankful to them for sharing their innermost thoughts, and I am just as thankful to the dreamers and visionaries who allow me to sit beside them in this quest to find the answer to the question: Why, when we live in the richest nation on Earth that has enough food to feed every man, woman and child, is there hunger? I am thankful that I have the opportunity to continue doing this work on a daily basis. I will be most thankful, however, when I no longer have to do this job because there will no longer be senior hunger.”
Catherine Oppenheimer, Co-Founder, National Dance Institute of New Mexico (NDI-NM)
“I’m grateful for the uniquely American spirit of philanthropy, in its broadest definition, which partners with our rich and diverse history of not-for-profit work. I don’t know of another nation that gives of its time, talent and resources the way America gives. This embedded American cultural identity makes opportunities possible all over the world for people, animals, the environment, etc. This inspires my gratitude and fills me with hope!”
Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
“I am thankful to have so many thousands of people on Team Alex. These great Team Alex members care enough to give their time and talents to raise money to help kids with cancer.”
Jill Vialet, Founder and CEO, Playworks
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be inspired on a daily basis by the young men and women who work for us out as coaches in the schools. There is something just completely hopeful and right about watching a young adult out playing with a group of kids. Seeing them model empathy, inclusion, teamwork… You just know that there is every reason to be hopeful, every reason to believe that we can raise a generation that will have the collective will to do the right thing.”
Lindsay Avner, Founder and CEO, Bright Pink
“I am thankful that I have the opportunity to wake up every day and have a profound sense of meaning in purpose. I am thankful to work in the area of prevention and early detection, to have the chance to help young women understand their breast and ovarian cancer risk and do something about it. I am thankful for the countless lives we have saved through education, support, prevention and early detection.”
Brahm Ahmadi, CEO and President, People’s Community Market
“I am thankful for the rising number of working-class and middle-class citizens who are taking action at the local level to create healthy, resilient and vibrant communities. In the last several years I’ve seen a groundswell of positive local action—ranging from people planting gardens to investing in local businesses to joining the Occupy Wall St. protests—that points to a new and imaginative energy for creating a better world in the face of the looming political, social and economic problems we face as a nation. Seeing these things happening gives me a strong sense that the future is bright.
To learn more about the people and nonprofits chosen for the book, visit Everyday Heroes on Facebook.